If you’ve already picked up our UCAT self-study prep coach book, thank you! If you stumbled upon this article without getting the book first, I highly recommend you grab a copy to get access to the study journal at the beginning of the book.
Taking better notes helps with recall and organising information in your head. However, the challenge with making notes for the UCAT is that it is an aptitude test. In order words, it doesn’t test knowledge but rather innate skills.
Unfortunately, this makes it more difficult to take notes. Furthermore, on test day you’ll be analysing information you have never seen before. So how should you take notes?
I propose splitting note-taking into three types:
1. Study journal
A reflective diary based on the outcome of your revision. You ideally want to take note of things that work and do not work for answering the different types of questions in each subtest. Thus, you ultimately mould out a game plan for each section based on your own experience. My team and I have taken the liberty of designing a simple and effective UCAT study journal, which you can find at the beginning of the UCAT self-study prep coach book. It works by splitting each question type into four sections:
- Do’s – a summary of tips and strategies that work to improve accuracy.
- Don’ts – a summary of things that do not work or should be avoided.
- Time-saving tips – a summary of tips that work to improve timing.
- Additional notes – Anything you will like to note or highlight.
2. Question error log
A well-designed error log is invaluable. It provides additional insight that may be missed without it. I strongly recommend creating a spreadsheet logging every question you get wrong during practice and reviewing it regularly to identify any patterns that arise. The benefit of this is that it allows you to accurately pinpoint weak areas. If you are using an online course such as Medify then do not worry about this as the course tracks this for you. However, you may find it beneficial to create a separate log when attempting the official practice questions. Download our free UCAT worksheet it includes an error log to track the official question banks and practice tests.
3. Performance notes
A summary of timed practice test results over time. It gives an indication of how prepared you are for the real test. Again, most online courses track this for you. But make sure to also keep a record of your official practice test scores for comparison. Be sure to track your total score, as well as individual scores for each subtest.
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